3 Chicago Cubs players who were cursed in 2023

Several Cubs players were struck with bad luck either at the plate or on the mound in 2023.

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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#3: Dansby Swanson

The captain and pseudo-assistant general manager of the Cubs Dansby Swanson wasn't immune to some bad luck throughout his first season in Chicago. His offensive numbers were merely fine with a .244/.328/.417 line and a 104 wRC+. His power dropped off from his past few seasons, though everything was right in line with his league average at the very least. Still, there were hints that Swanson had something more in his bat.

In fairness, Swanson did take some serious steps back in terms of barrel percentage, hard-hit rate, and average exit velocity, but his expected numbers were still improved from his actual results. The biggest jump can be seen in his .455 xSLG, a jump of nearly 40 points over his line. Moreover, it's almost certainly the case that his lower launch angle (13 degrees) curbed his power somewhat this year. There's reason to believe that a few tweaks, coupled with some better luck overall, will add a bit more thump to his bat.

Coupled with the improvements Swanson made this year to his strikeout (24.1%) and walk rates (10.3%), it's enough to believe he can be one of the key contributors in the Cubs lineup going forward. He's never going to be expected to carry the lineup or be the big bat that drives in a majority of the team's runs, but he can be counted on to be a consistent threat with enough power to hover around the 25-homer mark easily.

The Cubs have already indicated the plan to give Swanson a bit more rest in 2024 and that could make a big difference, especially in the second half. With his gold-glove caliber defense going nowhere, don't be surprised if he has an even better second year in Chicago.

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